The UK strain of coronavirus is currently dominating parts of north India while the double mutant variant is found mostly in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat, Director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Sujeet Singh said on Wednesday. He, however, added that the B1.1.7 lineage of SARS CoV-2 (UK variant) is declining in proportion across the country in the last month and a half.
Addressing a press conference, he said the B.1.1.7 (UK strain) is dominating parts of north India including Punjab (482 samples), Delhi (516), followed by Telangana (192), Maharashtra (83) and Karnataka (82). Ten top government laboratories and institutions have been sequencing the genomes of coronavirus since December, Singh said, adding 18,053 samples have been sequenced so far.
He said the information on genome sequencing has been shared with the states twice in February, four times in March and again four times in April. Singh said in the video-conferencing with states, the health ministry also informed about the current status of variants of concern and new mutants and it stressed on increased and stringent public health interventions.
The double mutant variant, also known as B.1.617, is mostly dominating Maharashtra (761), West Bengal (124), Delhi (107) and Gujarat (102). The South African variant, also known as B.1.315, was predominantly found in Telangana and Delhi. The Brazilian variant (P1) was only found in Maharashtra in a negligible proportion. Singh said there is a frequent written communication on the variants by the Health ministry and NCDC to all states and union territories.
He advised states and union territories to keep strict surveillance in the districts reporting new variants of concern where they can take up stringent public health measures including contact tracing, genome sequencing of positive samples of persons having history of international travel.